Album (and EP) Review: Nick Lowe and Los Straitjackets — ‘Lay it on Me’ and ‘Walkabout’

Sometimes, when two great musical forces meet, the results can be disastrous, or at least unimpressive. I don’t count myself as a fan of the ill-advised Lou Reed and Metallica pairing, 2011’s Lulu. And when the sometimes warring factions of Yes got back together for Union, the resulting album was a forgettable, bloated, too-many-cooks affair.

Nick Lowe Still Has That Old Magic

Note: I saw Nick Lowe twice in concert last week: once at Asheville’s Grey Eagle, doing a full (solo acoustic) set with Chuck Prophet opening; and again the next night as part of the three-night Yep Roc 15 celebration in Carrboro (Chapel Hill) NC. As a run-up to both of these events, I interviewed Lowe

Album Review: Nick Lowe – Jesus of Cool: 30th Anniversary Edition

Nick Lowe had a growing (if still somewhat underground) reputation in 1979. As a producer — mostly for Stiff Records — he had worked the boards on stunning a number of high-profile and successful albums, including ones for Graham Parker, The Damned and Elvis Costello. Lowe had already made a name for himself as bassist

EP Review: Crooked Flower — Darkness and Light

Darkness and Light is a new EP from Berkeley, California quartet Crooked Flower. Released this week, the EP is the latest release from the group who scored both “Song of the Year” and “Concert of the Year” in 2015 on my friend and colleague Mike Lidskin’s influential Twirl Radio. “Moving On” starts off with a

Lowe’s Straitjackets

Though he’s known primarily for his 1979 hit single “Cruel to Be Kind,” singer-songwriter Nick Lowe is a revered figure in rock and pop music. A key figure in the British punk and new wave scenes of the late 1970s and early ’80s, Lowe has since turned his own music in a more low-key direction.

Never Had It Better: A Chat with James Lowe of The Electric Prunes (Part Two)

Continued from Part One… Bill Kopp: In 2012 I wrote a blog entry in which I suggested that Syd Barrett may have – consciously or otherwise – nicked the intro of “Are You Lovin’ Me More (But Enjoying It Less)” for Pink Floyd‘s “Astronomy Dominé.” The two are too similar for it to be coincidence,

Album Review: Nick Curran – Reform School Girl

Five seconds in, the listener will know that on Reform School Girl, Nick Curran means business. True, many artists have made careers out of reviving style of old — Brian Setzer immediately comes to mind — but Nick Curran is no dilettante. He means f**king business on Reform School Girls. “Tough Lover” features distorted vocals,

SF Music History: Elvis Costello

It’s quaint to think about it now, but when Elvis Costello surfaced in the summer of 1977 with My Aim is True, he was heralded as a punk artist. Coming on the scene alongside Sex Pistols, The Damned and The Clash, Costello’s status as a punk act might have made a kind of sense; he

Album Review: The Monochrome Set – Allhallowtide

The Monochrome Set left behind their punk trappings years ago; these days Bid employs a vast sonic palette to craft fetching, sophisticated music that draws from English Music hall as much as anything else. In that regard he deserves to be though of a peer with singular, idiosyncratic artists like Elvis Costello. His pop songwriting

Album Review: Kasim Sulton – Kasim 2021

Though his list of musical credits is long and impressive – work with Cherry Vanilla, Meat Loaf, Joan Jett, Blue Öyster Cult and many others – if you know the name Kasim Sulton, it’s probably through his association with Todd Rundgren. A longtime member of the prog-to-new-wave-era quartet lineup of Utopia, Sulton sang lead on